Possible Turbine Cracks Shut PA Reactor

Friday, June 27, 2014 @ 04:06 PM gHale

After receiving data from vibration monitoring equipment indicating some blades on the turbine may be developing small cracks, officials decided to shut down Unit 2 of PPL Corp.’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Berwick, PA.

“We have been monitoring turbine performance closely for the last several years, and continue to work with the manufacturer to address conditions that are associated with cracks developing,” said Timothy S. Rausch, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “We continue to take appropriate actions based on the monitoring data we are collecting to ensure long-term safety and reliability.”

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While the unit is down, workers will perform additional maintenance activities they can do when unit is not operating.

Rausch said they modified the Unit 1 turbine with newly designed blades last month during a refueling outage. The design of the new blades reduce vibration, which is a primary contributor to blade crack growth.

Pending a full analysis of the Unit 1 turbine performance over the course of the year, PPL Susquehanna is preparing to install the newly designed blades on the Unit 2 turbine during its next scheduled refueling outage in the spring of 2015.

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